Real Anti-Catholic Bias

What’s the fastest way to make a Democrat angry? Call him anti-Catholic. That’s exactly what happened the other week when the Committee for Justice ran a controversial ad that pictured a closed courtroom door with a sign on it that read, “Catholics need not apply.”

Referring to the recent trend in the Senate to stall voting on Catholic nominees to federal court positions, the ad implied that Democrats were beginning to apply a religion test to those nominees, effectively barring Catholics from federal benches.

The issue came to a head after a vote on Bill Pryor's nomination in the Senate Judiciary Committee was split exactly along party lines — the Democrats being unanimously against him. But these same Democrats — some among them Catholic, by their own definition — bristled at the ad. They insisted that their hesitation had to do with Pryor's “deeply held beliefs” on issues like abortion and homosexuality, something they said was entirely removed from his religion.

The fact that Pryor has an impeccable public record of upholding the law on these issues doesn't seem to make a difference. Nor does it seem to make a difference that ANY faithful Catholic would still be automatically excluded by these criteria, their privately held beliefs trumping any public record, no matter how flawless.

Well, the argument over the ad rolls on, and Democrats continue to cry “foul” about the charge of anti-Catholicism. But a lesser-known Catholic nominee, Leon Holmes, might just prove that the charge of anti-Catholicism could stick after all.

Now you may not have heard of Holmes before — his nomination hasn't gotten as much press lately — but he's been nominated to serve as a federal judge for eastern Arkansas. Holmes is a faithful Catholic with orthodox positions on the family, but more importantly to his nomination, he has an impressive legal career that has won him the endorsement of the American Bar Association, recognition from his hometown newspaper, a teaching position at the University of Arkansas School of Law, and the praise of even those who disagree with him, calling him a man “shot through with integrity.”

Sounds like the perfect candidate. But once again, Democrats have seized on Holmes's deep faith as a reason to doubt that he would be an impartial and fair judge. More than criticizing his anti-abortion stance, though, some Democrats have gone so far as to call him a “misogynist” for his views on the mutual subjugation of husbands and wives as taught in the Bible.

You see, Holmes and his wife wrote a short essay that was printed in their diocesan newspaper on the traditional Church teachings about the relationship between men and women, teachings that they call “grand, elegant, and beautiful.” The paper takes up such unpopular topics as the male-only priesthood, the understanding of God as “father,” and the watering-down of the liturgy with gender-neutral language.

Mr. and Mrs. Holmes also discussed the role of husbands and wives, explaining that their relationship was to mirror the relationship of Christ (male) and the Church (female), as we are taught in the Bible. Just as the Church places herself under the care and guidance of Christ, so too are wives to “submit” to their husbands' care. In addition, just as Christ laid down His life for the Church, husbands are called to sacrifice everything for the good of their wives, whom they must love and respect above all else.

This is what Catholics believe to be true — and it isn't just about the relationship of men and women. It's a larger sign for the mystical relationship between Christ and His Church.

Now, it's understandable that some people would misunderstand Catholic teaching on this subject if it hadn't been properly explained to them. That's the kind of misunderstanding that Mr. and Mrs. Holmes tried to clear up by writing this piece.

But for Senators Schumer, Feinstein, and Durbin, this is misogyny, end of story. And not only that: It is enough reason to bar him from a seat on a federal bench.

Do you see what's happening here? Holmes is being discriminated against because of his faith. It doesn't matter if others unfairly misinterpret that faith, or even if Holmes's personal beliefs don't interfere with his adherence to the law. Simply holding that belief is enough to disqualify him.

Democrats can call it what they want, but this attack on Holmes goes to the heart of his personal religious beliefs. Only by abandoning them would they consider him fit to serve, and that's a religious test of the most obvious kind.

At least in Holmes's case, this Catholic need not apply.

Deal Hudson is editor and publisher of CRISIS Magazine. You can reach him via email at

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